• Climate Change
  • Intelligent Building Technologies
  • Building Innovations
  • Corporate Sustainability

Two Big Technology-Powered Reasons the US Will Make Progress on Climate Change in 2019

Casey Talon
Jan 04, 2019

Solar 3

The outlook for action on climate change in the US can seem gloomy in the shadow of the United Nations Conference, COP24, and the official US National Statement, which includes the intention to use all energy sources and technologies as cleanly and efficiently as possible, including fossils fuels. Despite these, there are important indications from the private sector that executives understand the importance of action and are opening their wallets to show their commitment. Corporate leadership recognizes the connection between combating climate change and their bottom line. This shows hope for US action in the absence of federal policy or regulation for two big reasons.

1. Mounting corporate commitments provide momentum for tackling climate change independent of the standstill in negotiating federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

In Navigant Research’s recent report, How Science-Based Targets Offer Direction for Sustainability Performance, we took stock in the public commitments and resulting impacts of new focused corporate initiatives. In particular, the US has entered a new era of corporate resolution to combat climate change as communicated through science-based targets (SBTs), which make climate commitments more concrete. Investments inside corporate operations are usually the first step after a target is set and result in energy and operational efficiencies that come with bottom line benefits. The financial impact of these actions keeps internal stakeholders committed, regardless of uncertain policy contexts or shifting stakeholder pressures. The clear connection to key financial metrics is a major driver for voluntary emissions reduction commitments and why neglecting them represents missed opportunities from both a strategic and financial perspective.

2. Intelligent building technologies help business owners generate employee and customer friendly experiences to make a stronger use case for technology-driven energy efficiency.

In today’s corporate environment, digital transformation is paramount. In the real estate and facilities management context, intelligent building solutions are the pathway to digital transformation. There is a direct tie to tackling climate change when you consider building operations account for 40% of the country’s emissions footprint. Energy management is now just one part of the storyline for the intelligent building. Customers seek lower utility bills, but the future is with solutions that deliver these savings alongside occupant-focused experience improvements because these solutions deliver the bottom line befits associated with their biggest cost center, human capital.

In 2019, technologies that link the occupant experience to facility optimization will see major success as they unify cost savings and corporate strategic imperatives. Executives want to measure ROI and build their brand around sustainability and digital transformation. Mobile apps and analytics can be a powerful toolkit to drive behavioral change for energy efficiency and showcase technology strategy.